Any new 52-foot boat would be special but the introduction of a new brand is even more so. In early November, following the public launch at the Fort Lauderdale show, Canadian Yachting traveled to Miami to run hull number one of the brand new 52 Ovation. And yes, it is special.
Ovation Yachts are a new brand designed and built to compete at the higher end of the market by Silverton, part of the Luhrs Marine Group – a builder with a 39-year history. Of course, other Silverton models will continue to be built and future Ovation models will be introduced in the future as the brand evolves.
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, so this premiere model is critically important. The Ovation 52 is a sedan bridge design with a spacious cockpit, generous flying bridge with multi-level cabins inside.
It has the handsome and traditional lines of a high-end family cruising yacht. The design offers spacious, conventional and very comfortable accommodations. In fact, the boat has remarkable space and features for a 52 footer. The Ovation was designed around the Volvo Penta IPS drive system. Compared to traditional inboard engines driving straight shafts, the IPS places the engine much further aft driving the IPS pod drives, each with counter rotating, forward facing prop sets.
We emphasize “each” because our test boat had triple IPS 600s! Where the design really comes together is in the compact size of the IPS system. The engine room is under a hatch in the cockpit sole. It lifts for engine access. You step down a short ladder and there is the neat row of three IPS units, each with front mounted water separators, top oil fills and the Racor filtration system on the bulkhead, all in easy access.
The engine room is impressively simple and uncluttered. Should major engine work be required, the entire sole can be unbolted, lifted out and all three IPS units replaced in an amazing 10 hours according to Mike Usina, VP Sales and Marketing for Luhrs Marine Group.
The design benefits pay off most noticeably in the master stateroom. In spite of the Ovation’s sleek lines, the Volvo Penta IPS units allowed the designers to build in a full beam aft stateroom with generous standing headroom throughout most of the area.
A full 60 x 80 Queen pillow top mattress makes this very comfortable. There are three opening portholes on each side, port and starboard built-in dressers, a makeup table, flat screen TV and a full ensuite head. The head is bright, spacious and has a full glass-sided shower stall.
On the port side of the companionway is a “convertible” quarter berth. The mattress slides out on a track allowing you to have a single or double berth, or to push the mattress all the way in for access to the optional separate washer and dryer. It is very creative and highly functional.
Ahead of the quarter berth is a second enclosed shower while to starboard is a head with MSD and a sink in the vanity – a balanced arrangement delivering greater convenience than a single head. The layout gives an impressively large open area ahead of the forward stateroom, like a vestibule. There are double doors as well, and you get a far more spacious feeling than you might expect.
The forward stateroom has port and starboard hanging lockers, a queen mattress, three drawers under the berth, an opening deck hatch and a mirrored bulkhead.
Heading up to the main cabin, we find the galley to port and a wraparound dinette to starboard, both on the same level. Maximizing the counter space, the Ovation has two drawers, and under-counter Vitrifrigo refrigerators and separate freezers for outstanding food locker space. There’s a countertop panel that lifts for access to another provisions locker that is deep enough for 1.5 litre bottles and family-sized cereal boxes. The ceramic stovetop can be used as counter space when not in use and the counter continues with a panel that rises electrically revealing a convection microwave that can, when not in use, be stored out of sight.
The Ovation galley has five lockers plus three drawers as well as another drawer and liquor cabinet built into the dining table base. Real leather seats for up to eight people located under the massive windshield and side glass areas make this dinette a pleasure to use.
Then, it is down a step into the salon featuring an optional wine cooler, 32 inch flat screen TV on an electric lift, a DVD and more real leather upholstered furniture. The test boat had a pair of recliner chairs and a matching couch to starboard with useful storage under the seats.
We loved the three-section sliding glass bulkhead that opens up a 4-foot passageway in and out of the salon. Simple electrical panels for the frequently used systems are just inside the door. Four-zone air conditioning keeps it all cool and a central vacuum system is included. There are also CO monitors and the Ovation features satin finished cherry wood trim throughout.
Topsides, the cockpit included a huge aft bench seat, transom door, fresh water wash downs and thoughtfully recessed horn cleats. Optionally, buyers can choose a hydraulic lift or a really unique feature that tilts the bench seat forward revealing an 800-pound capacity davits system for hoisting a dinghy up onto the swim platform. Great thinking.
The swim platform is full width, finished in non-skid as are the wide side decks leading forward. These have 1 1/4” rails that are high and have lifelines. However, we felt the builders should have extended the cabin trunk handrail further forward. The deck is nonskid with two, built-in reclining sun lounge seats, each with drink holders. A large anchor locker, Maxwell windlass and plenty of rode complete the story here.
The flying bridge is another real strength of the Ovation 52. The massive hardtop (overhanging the whole cockpit) delivers great space. The Ovation is rated for 12 people up top and they enjoy wraparound seating with air-conditioning vents, a neat folding table with center mounted ice bucket and companion side lounge. The captain gets a pedestal helm seat as does the first mate. EZ2CY side curtains fully enclose the bridge for air-conditioning or you can unzip and latch them up under the hardtop to get them out of the way…or you can remove them altogether.
The test boat had a great helm with handsome wood rim wheel, two lever Volvo Penta electronic controls (controlling all three engines through the automatic synchronization system). The now famous IPS joystick is near at hand and all electronics are in plain view. The test boat had twin Raymarine E120 systems including a stern video camera. There was Raymarine Tridata and Autopilot, VHF radio and the Volvo digital control panel for the engine functions. We liked the tilt wheel and the angled footrest for driver comfort.
Casting off, the IPS joystick enables the boat to go directly away from the pier sideways, turn, and back, and then ease out of even very tight places.
Smooth and quiet, the optional triple IPS 600 engines planed off the Ovation in 12.02 seconds and hit top speed in a mere 17.69 seconds with four people aboard with fuel tanks 75% full. The engines are designed for greatest deficiency at 90% of wide-open throttle (WOT). The Ovation 52 cruises at 3,250 rpm doing 28.5 mph and showing 18.1 gallons per hour times the three engines. Very impressive performance.
The ride was soft and dry with far better turning than you would normally get in an inboard powered yacht. Ride motions were very gentle and it was comfortable in either a head or following sea. The bridge is fairly high up and some roll in a beam sea was noticed but not uncomfortable. Overall, the folks at Silverton have created a very impressive big yacht but they just couldn’t resist… yes the appointments, styling and features are clearly upscale yet the new Ovation brand still delivers a lot of value for a 52 foot package.
Test boat engines: Triple Volvo Penta IPS 600, D6-435-DA inline 6 cylinder four stroke diesel engines, fuel injection, electronic controls, 5.5 L/336 ci, 435 hp each, with pod drives with forward-facing, counter-rotating prop sets
Engine (RPM) Speed (MPH) Fuel (GPH)
Idle 600 4.6 .3
1,000 8.4 .7
1,250 9.0 1
1,500 10.4 2.3
1,750 11.5 3.7
2,000 12.3 5.4
2,250 13.5 7.6
2,500 15.8 10.3
2,750 18.6 13.3
3,000 23.4 15
3,250* 28.5 18.1
3,605 MAX 34.2 22.2
* Cruising speed
Performance data by Raymarine
Length Overall 52’/15.8 m
Beam 16’ 4”/4.9 m
Weight (Dry) 52,000 lb.s/23,608 kg
Fuel Capacity 610 gal./2,309 L
Water 200 gal./757 L
Holding Tank 80 gal./303 L
Test boat provided by
To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com to check listings!
By Andy Adams